Game: Friday the 13th: The Game
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
Rating: M for Mature
In recent years horror video games have become something of a rarity, with most titles taking a more action orientated route. So, when a horror game does come along it can be very exciting for fans of the genre, especially with a recognizable name like Friday the 13th: The Game.
An Unlucky Number
Survival horror games already set themselves apart from other genres on the market through their use of unsettling atmosphere and visually stunning yet disturbing character models. However, Friday the 13th: The Game strays even further by placing players in the roles of both camp counselors attempting to flee the supernatural serial killer known as Jason Voorhees, as well as having the capacity to control Jason himself. This title is currently downloadable only and strictly an online multiplayer experience, therefore players will need a subscription to their console of choice’s online capabilities in order to play, at least until the single player mode is added via update later this summer. The lack of a solitary component also means the lack of a narrative. The only story is the setting itself: an assembly of campers are descended upon with macabre intent.
Friday the 13th: The Game supports up to eight players, with one taking the role of the rampaging Jason while the other seven try to survive through one of four ways, escaping by car or boat, calling the police, or enduring until the time runs out. Eluding the iconic slasher is not as easy as simply hopping into a motor vehicle and driving into the sunset. Each getaway method requires several prerequisites to be completed before an escape can be made, such as filling a car with gas, replacing its dead battery, and locating the ignition key. The whereabouts of these items are randomized each time you play, so no object will be found in the same place twice. Things can and probably will go a lot more smoothly for the campers if they work together, although it is possible to betray an ally by incapacitating them, allowing for Jason’s bloody hands to ensnare an easy prey while you make your escape. Campers, though extremely vulnerable, can defend themselves. Makeshift weapons such as baseball bats, wrenches, fire pokers, bear traps, and more can be used to stun your stalker, buying you a few extra seconds. Playing as Jason is a stark contrast to the men and woman he pursues. His slow and lumbering nature is supplemented by an incredible strength that allows him to rip other players’ limbs from their torsos. He also can teleport, making for some spine-tingling jump scares when Jason seemingly appears out of thin air. Despite his supernatural abilities, he can be killed, albeit in a complex manner that is best discovered for oneself. The one on seven gameplay is truly unique, and unlike anything found in mainstream games.
Vacation to Camp Crystal Lake
There are plenty of Easter eggs here for fans of the franchise, from a famous playable character to recordings of Jason’s psychotic mother. Not only that, the film’s aesthetics are lovingly sprinkled over the experience like a glitter-enclosed love letter. As Jason, his mother’s incorporeal voice can be heard spurring her son on to commit malevolent acts, while the campers’ terrified reactions, and recognizable locations they abscond through, will instantly conjure memorable movie scenes within one’s mind. Although the character models can, at times, be laughable when exhibiting fear with budging eyes and hanging mouths, Camp Crystal Lake itself has been adoringly reconstructed. The cabins dotting the forests, the burntout campsites, and the lake all do justice to the iconic backdrop.
Friday the 13th: The Game is unlike anything you may have played before, yet with that being said, it also comes with some teething problems. I often received connection issues and players making use of glitches in order to cheat. When the game’s played fairly, however, it provided me with some truly memorable moments. The $40 price tag is also an issue since the game still does not feel quite complete. The developers have promised to support the game through updates and the addition of a free single player, hopefully making the price more of an investment than an overcharge.